Good Guide Dog News From Queensland

This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018

A piece of good news from Brisbane Australia. Despite the local flooding a black Labrador gave birth to a litter of eight healthy guide dog puppies after having been earlier evacuated from the breeding and training centre.

The expectant mum-to-be spent the first stage of labour in a hotel room being watched by a Guide Dogs Queensland specialist breeding team but was later rushed to Queensland veterinary specialists for an emergency caesarean section during which eight healthy pups were delivered.

The mum and pups are doing well back at the breeding centre and hopefully the five boys and three girls will grow up to be wonderful guide dogs.

Guide Dog Charity Calls For Street Safety

This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018

A leading charity supporting blind people has been reported as saying that London’s streets need to be made more blind-people friendly according to the BBC.

Blind people can become isolated and depressed if they are not confident of walking around safely and although the government has set guidelines for road layouts, the 33 councils of London implement them differently which leads to confusion.

Dr Tom Pey, the charity’s chief executive, who is a guide dog owner, said: “Visually impaired people might just as well be moving to another country, not just across another borough.

“If we can remove barriers and the fear of getting around, then blind people are more likely to get out of their homes and be less depressed. This will benefit society as a whole.”

Guide Dog Puppy Trainers

This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018

It’s probably a very rewarding job, but tinged with sadness… a guide dog puppy trainer. Can you imagine? A puppy comes to your home at 2 months old, you train him for every eventuality and then, at about 18 months old, give the dog away to undergo guide dog training. Wow. I’m sure that’s an emotional moment, as this story testifies…

Orleans, a Golden Labrador Retriever, is preparing to give a new leash on life to someone who is blind.

The 17-month-old pup is finishing her basic training and is headed for the next stage in her career by attending guide dog school, part of the Puppy Raising Program for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

It’s a bittersweet occasion for volunteer Kathryn Hoffman, who has known Orleans since the dog came to live with her Queensbury family 15 months ago. Hoffman has been responsible for getting Orleans to a point where she can adapt calmly to a new environment and respond to basic commands.

The dog has been a near-constant companion to Hoffman, going to the grocery store, the mall and even church, once Orleans got her blue jacket emblazoned with “GEB” (guiding eyes for the blind) and could go inside public places.

“The first time I took her to church I made sure she had a long, long walk, and she basically took a nap and snored through the service,” Hoffman said with a chuckle.

Cheryl Lawyer, Northeastern New York coordinator for the program, said there always is a need for volunteers to take on the responsibility of socializing and sensitizing young dogs to new situations so they can eventually become the watchful eyes for the blind.

Hoffman is now contemplating life without Orleans in the house.

“The first question people always ask is, ‘How can you ever give the puppy up?’ Initially my attitude was very cavalier because – having just sent a couple of kids off to college in the past few years – to me it was just another kid going off for higher education. But when they moved her (guide school training) to January, I think that’s when it really hit us,” Hoffman said. “Orleans is more than ready, and she needs to have that kind of activity and stimulation in her life. It’s difficult to give them up, but they truly do have a higher calling.”

(full story link)

Update: the webpage we link to won’t now serve the page to people within the EEA!

“451: Unavailable due to legal reasons
We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact webmaster@poststar.com or call 877-589-5944.”

If you want to see the full story, using a proxy from somewhere else in the world works!

What Happens To Failed Guide Dogs?

This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018

Of all the guide dog puppies that undergo training, 70% will pass and become official guide dogs. There’s an interesting article in the Forfar Dispatch about what happens to the other 30% of guide dog puppies.

The majority either go back to their puppy walker or go on to become household pets, but a few go on to have successful working lives in other areas.

Nicola Smith is one of the rehoming officers at the Orchardbank training facility. She assesses each dog deemed unsuitable for working as a Guide Dog to see if they would be suitable for another working role.

“The dog supply manager, Logan Anderson, assesses and withdraws dogs from training,” she explained.

“When a dog is withdrawn from training the rehoming officers always assess the dog for another working home, unless it has a health problem.

“Rehoming officers at Guide Dogs have a list of criteria needed for other working homes (police, hearing dogs, support dogs, prison service and so on) so if we think that the dog might be suitable then we will contact the appropriate working home and invite them to come and look at the dog for themselves.

“If suitable, then they take the dog away to start its training for a new career. If the dog is not successful in its new career then it comes back to guide dogs for rehoming.”

So far this year the centre has placed five dogs in working homes.
Two have become service dogs for owners with other disabilities, one has joined the British Transport Police and two have taken up positions with the dog section of Fife Constabulary.

The two Fife dogs, Glade (since renamed Jade) and Wilma, have now been successfully trained for police work; one as a drug detection dog and the other searching for explosives.

Both dogs were withdrawn from training due to being too easily distracted. While this would not be a problem for a sighted handler it would have been unsafe for a guide dog owner.

So if you’ve ever wondered where the police dogs originally come from, now you know. Some of they may have initially trained as guide dogs! Although, as the pass rate for police dogs is even lower than the 70% reported for guide dogs, it’s not a common occurrence, but interesting nonetheless.

If you’re interested, we have a page with more information about rehoming failed guide dogs.

Sponsor Scientific Research

This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018

Did you know that the Guide Dogs for the Blind help fund scientific research? Neither did I, but they do. According to their website, they help fund ophthalmic research…

We are committed to funding high quality research that:

  • may lead to better diagnosis or treatment to aid the preservation of sight, and prevent further visual loss in people who are blind or partially-sighted; or
  • encourages developments in ophthalmology (including optometry) that may lead to a clinical application within years.

The preservation and enhancement of sight is one of Guide Dogs’ primary research goals, and our ophthalmic research programme plays a key part in supporting that goal and informing our services, policy and campaigns activity.

So if you decide to donate to the Guide Dogs charity, you could be helping to save the eyesight of people from future generations through scientific discoveries and breakthroughs.

Sponsoring A Guide Dog Puppy

This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018

Guide Dog Being Trained
Guide Dog Being Trained

Sponsoring A Guide Dog Puppy

Since 1931, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has worked to provide vital support and facilities to blind and partially-sighted people, with the aim of enabling them to lead free and independent lives. Central to this aim is the sourcing, training and provision of Guide Dogs which fulfil the roles of both guide and companion to their human friends. There are around 5000 Guide Dogs in active service at any time in the United Kingdom; however, the job of training tomorrow’s Guide Dogs is a never-ending, if hugely rewarding, endeavour.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a registered charity and receives no financial assistance from the Government. The £28,000 which it costs to train just one puppy is sourced from voluntary donations, legacies, fundraising activities and through a sponsorship scheme which is a fantastic way for people of all ages and from all backgrounds to get involved in something really special.

Sponsoring a Guide Dog puppy is really easy. All of the information you will need is available on the Guide Dogs website, where you can see which puppies are currently available for sponsorship and learn more about what your money will be helping to achieve. By clicking on the ‘sponsor a puppy’ button and completing your details online, you will be on your way to making an amazing difference to someone’s life. The only hard part is choosing which puppy to sponsor- they’re all so adorable!

How Your Puppy Sponsorship Helps

Your sponsorship will help fund every aspect of your puppy’s development, from the basics such as puppy food to veterinary bills and the training itself. It takes two years to train a Guide Dog, and during this period you can expect to receive regular ‘Pupdates’ with photos to show you how your puppy is progressing with his or her training.

The easiest way to pay for your sponsorship is by monthly Direct Debit, which costs as little as £5 a month. You can also claim Gift Aid on your donations, which means that even more money goes towards training your chosen puppy, at no extra cost to you. When you register you will receive a welcome pack which includes a certificate, an exclusive calendar, a photo of your chosen puppy, a window sticker and a photo album. Gift and group sponsorships are also available.

Start your sponsorship today and you’ll discover how rewarding sponsoring a Guide Dog puppy can be!

How To Sponsor A Guide Dog

This post was most recently updated on March 16th, 2018

Golden Retriever Guide Dog
Golden Retriever Guide Dog

Would you like to sponsor a guide dog? Great! Not only will you be donating to a great charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, you’ll also help someone who’s partially sighted or blind to improve their independence, mobility and overall quality of life.

The Guide Dogs charity in the UK breed over 1,000 puppies each year to train new guide dogs? Each blind person needs eight guide dogs on average in their lifetime. The puppies spend their first year with volunteers who help to train them. when they’re 12 months old, the puppies go on to spend a further six months of specialist training to learn the skills necessary to be able to work with blind, visually-impaired and partially-sighted people. Training a guide dog costs about £21,000 over the lifetime of each guide dog. The Guide Dogs charity has training schools in Redbridge, Leamington, Bolton and Forfar, a Breeding Centre near Leamington, and 28 district teams across the UK. They employ over 800 professional staff and a team of more than 10,000 volunteers.